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 Post subject: Parliament - The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:09 pm
Posts: 2414
Location: Michigan
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From 1975 to 1977, funk band and traveling circus Parliament released a trilogy of classic funk albums (Mothership Connection, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome). Of those three, Mothership Connection is generally considered to be one of the all-time funk greats. Unfortunately, It's popularity seems to have distracted listeners from the other two albums. Both of these albums are musically outstanding on their own. I already wrote a review on Funkentelechy, so I felt an obligation to finally write a review for the other album.

Released in 1976, this comes on the heels of the 1975 release of Mothership Connection. It continues the "Star Child" theme of the previous album while also adding a major character in the storyline, Dr. Funkenstein, who is portrayed on the album by George Clinton. Like the albums that sandwich this one, this album is a goldmine of funky goodness. Adding to the whole freak show is seemingly James Brown's entire backing band. This has everything, outrageously funky bass playing, drumming, horns, soulful singing, Clinton-led weirdness and outer space keyboards. It all begins with what basically amounts to a ghetto version of the Mr. Crowley intro. To top it off, Clinton is rambling something about dinosaurs, outerspace, whatever. It all works pefectly as an introduction. Better get weird right away and lessen the impact of later weirdness. This flows right into one of my favorite P Funk tracks, Gamin' on Ya!. If this song was released today, in the right hands, I think it could be a hit. I love the contrast between the beginning theme and the second (people keep waitin' on the train) part.

The rest of the album amounts to a journey through a cross section of RnB styles at the time. One of the highlights for me is Getten' to Know You. I love the energy and especially the singing in this one. It's so driving and the horns sound great. Another favorite is I've been Watching You (Move Your Sexy Body). Love the sexy time slinky groove in this one. Closing out this album is Funkin' for Fun, sung by Glen Goins. Goins tragically died in 1978 at the age of 24. It's hard to not to think about that when I listen to this song, especially during the "When you see my mother, tell her I'm alright" part. Powerfull stuff.

Obviously, I highly recommend this album.


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 Post subject: Re: Parliament - The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:09 pm
Posts: 2414
Location: Michigan
Live version of Gamin' On Ya:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swe-VzMdENg


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 Post subject: Re: Parliament - The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:49 am
Posts: 4297
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
I'd love to hear your review of Mothership Connection, San. I downloaded the trilogy of these albums based on your first review btw, I love all of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Parliament - The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:09 pm
Posts: 2414
Location: Michigan
I'll see what I can do.


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 Post subject: Re: Parliament - The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:39 am
Posts: 1924
Location: Miami, FL, USA
[And funk is its own reward]

Bootsy's bass is thumping as always, Bernie's keyboards provide all the right textures, but the stars of this album are the Horny Horns. Wesley, Parker, Gardner, and the Breckers grab the spotlight on track after track. Just one example is the powerhouse sax (?) break at about 3:15 on Getten' to Know You which perfectly segues right into some wonderfully jazzy piano from Worrell. Not even their two side project albums showcase their talents the way this album does.

[In the days of the Funkapus]

Prelude begins with some ominous organ and tape manipulation before expanding further on P-Funk mythology. Forget about the Death Star destroying planets, the Afronauts can funkatize entire galaxies. This leads into Gamin' with the cynics dissing Dr Funkenstein, while the true believers remind them of Osmium's advice to come in out of the rain.

[Call Me the Big Pill]

Because Dr Funkenstein is the mad scientist with the funky cure for what ails you. His Children of Production are unleashed to blow the cobwebs outta your mind.

[It Was a Thrill Upon a Hill]

The concept kind of ends after the fourth song; but that's okay, because the power of the p(ure)-funk can lead to true love (Getten' to Know You) and the party that never stops (Do That Stuff). Great vocals from Garry Shider on both tracks.

The album's one "weak" track, Everything would be any other band's featured single and a career highlight. Here it pales slightly in comparison to the great tracks that surround it. That said, its big hooky chorus, pumping horns and Worrell's synths are still more than enough to grab you.

Next up is the smooth and slinky slow jam Watching You. As with so many P-Funk songs, the scant lyrics become a mantra saying more in a handful of lines that most bands can say with their entire catalog.

[Tell her I'm alright]

The closer - Funkin' for Fun - is another of their endless double entendre uses of the word "funk", but always with a subtle underlying spiritual message. Love how the jazzy guitar leads into those horns. Shining mentioned the criminally overlooked and underrated Glenn Goins and the last two song are highlighted by his excellent vocals.

An A-, the album really takes off for me over its second half.

As I have been going back and re-listening to all their albums, the strange way they handled their career combined with their ability to effortlessly write seemingly sure-fire pop hits reminds me of Todd Rundgren. I always wonder with fewer drugs and more concentration on becoming superstars, how big could Clinton and company have been? How do you not release songs like Getten' or Watching as the singles?


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